WILLS, FRANCIS DESALES

Name: Francis Desales Wills
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry,
1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 18 October 1944
Home City of Record: La Planta MD
Date of Loss: 26 February 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 130611N 1090601E (BQ941492)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0258

Other Personnel in Incident: Donald S. Newton (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
NETWORK 1998.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: SGT Donald S. Newton and PFC Francis D. Wills were assigned to
Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 1st
Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. In early 1966, the company was operating
in Phy Yen Province, Republic of Vietnam.

On February 26, 1966, Newton and Wills were members of a long range
reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) and had orders to conduct a road reconnaissance
about 250 meters from the patrol base a few miles west of the city of Tuy
Hoa. Newton and Wills served as pointmen; the two left the base at 0745 and
were never seen again.

Search teams searched for two days for Newton and Wills, but no trace of
them was ever found. They were listed Missing in Action. The Defense
Intelligence Agency further expanded Newton's and Wills' classification to
include an enemy knowledge ranking of 2. Category 2 indicates "suspect
knowledge" and includes personnel who may have been involved in loss
incidents with individuals reported in Category 1 (confirmed knowledge), or
who were lost in areas or under conditions that they may reasonably be
expected to be known by the enemy; who were connected with an incident which
was discussed but not identified by names in enemy news media; or identified
(by elimination, but not 100% positively) through analysis of all-source
intelligence.

In 1984, a private citizen obtained a lengthy document through the Freedom
of Information Act that had been received by Da Nang Regional Intelligence
in 1969. The report included a very detailed description of a POW camp near
the city of Hue (specific enough that a rescue mission had been planned) and
lists of names of POWs positively and possibly held at the facility.

When the citizen contacted the family of one of the men listed, he learned
that this family had never been informed of this report. The report was
shown to Larry Stark, a former civilian POW captured at Hue. Stark had not
been shown the report during his debrief in 1973 for verification, and
identified several on the lists as men he had been held with.

After this report gained media attention, the U.S. Government began
contacting the families of the men listed, impugning the reliability of the
informant and the information. Donald S. Newton's name was on the list of
"possible" identifications.

Intelligence reports surfacing over the years during the war and following
build a strong case for a well-organized second prison system, and a well
orchestrated plan to keep prisoners within systems from intermingling. As it
is widely believed that the Vietnamese withheld the release of many
prisoners until peace agreement terms were met (specifically reconstruction
aid), it is logical to assume that one prison system's inmates were released
while another were held back for possible release at a later date. It is
also logical to assume that the scenario might be played to its fullest,
including convincing each man in a two man crew that had been separated,
that the other was dead.

No one really knows what happened to Donald S. Newton and Francis D. Wills
on February 26, 1966. Although the U.S. has administratively declared both
men dead based on no specific information that they are still alive, the USG
has also declared those dead on whom live sighting reports continue to be
received by the intelligence community and private sector. It is impossible
to know, from USG information, who is alive and who is not.

Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports comprising "several million
documents" and over "250,000 interviews" have poured in to the U.S. related
to Americans prisoner, missing, or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. The
lengthy report of the POW camp near Hue is only one of them. Many
authorities who have reviewed this information are convinced that hundreds
of Americans remain alive in captivity today.

Whether Newton and Wills survived and were captured and are perhaps still
alive is certainly not known. However, what is clear is that there can be no
"Peace with honor" or end to the war in Vietnam until our men are brought
home.